February 26, 2016

Take it Personally

It’s been said for generations that bringing your life to work is frowned upon. It was clearly stated that work is for work and if you want to interject something that is happening in your life, do that after work or during lunch or the small talk portion of meetings, but work is for working. And if you had a problem with your kids, finances, parents, spouse, or another ‘life’ issue, those were to be left at the door as well.

But can anyone expect employees to spend a third of their life in robot mode? Well some do, which is short sighted. Igniting passions and embracing differences can garner remarkable results.

Doing Human Work

While we see four generations trying to mix cultures in the workplace plus more telecommuting, virtual teaming, technology, and flex time, we are seeing a shift and the process may not be going smoothly in many cases.

I’m not a fan of stereotypes but generally the older employees are more resistant to change while the younger employees adapt quicker. Yes, there are exceptions, but working all the time isn't healthy at any age.

Collaborate Openly

Fast Company published a short piece back in 2005 entitled Making Business Personal where they made the case of balancing time between life and work priorities which states; “Take more of these opportunities to make business more personal, and please don't think your professional contacts will think less of you. In fact, usually the opposite happens. In most cases, this blurring of personal and professional lives seems to be good for business and good for our families, our friends, and ourselves.”

Foosball tables and catered lunches don't create a collaborative culture but blending generations, mixing perspectives, and allowing life to permeate your company will make it personal and that’s a good thing.

Make your business personal and your team will reciprocate.

February 23, 2016

Building Blocks of Business

The foundation of your business is people. That’s not some fluffy nice to have statement; it has been scientifically proven. If you have good relationships in your business, your chances of success will exponentially improve. If you view that human stuff as a waste of time, or a job for someone else, your company will be built on sand.

If you asked any business leader if they would like to have the most talented people on their team, it’s fairly safe to say you would get a positive response from one hundred percent of them. Who doesn't want the best?

Open Mind Policy

But if you were to subsequently ask them what specific daily steps are they personally making to ensure that happens, the answers could become a bit vaguer. I'm not referring to the employee handbook or some slick delegation process someone else oversees – steps they do themselves.

Now ask yourself those same two questions. You want the best, of course you do, but what are you doing today – not monthly or in your weekly wrap-up meetings or is some all-staff email – but today, to help your team be the best?

A hint: It has nothing to do with your products or services.

February 20, 2016

Your Real Bottom Line

Training is important for any business, but I believe action learning is the best way to create positive and lasting improvement in your company. We spend more than 12,000 days at work during our life, so why not find a way for us to enjoy them?

Your employees want to enjoy being at work. Your profits will grow if you make your people your priority. It's not a nice to have; it's essential to the growth of your business.

Every employee in your company wants to know they can bring their best work and have the chance to improve, grow, and learn. You may think selling more products is the fastest way to improve your bottom line, but it’s people who will get you there and strong internal culture is the critical ingredient.

Each year, Gallup does a survey of the global workplace and through over 60,000 one-on-one interviews in 90 countries last year, only 13% of respondents said they were emotionally invested in creating value to their companies and organizations. That’s a problem. Engaging your employees is the most important way to realize measurable results. Your bottom line depends on your people.

Leadership and Team Development

I provide workshops and webinars customized to your company and team’s needs. We begin where you are right now and we address your specific needs integrated with your current business challenges.

These can take on various iterations from half-day and full-day workshops to ongoing team, department, and individual sessions, to leadership development programs which include your employees working on their growth while solving a real business project.

Business and Executive Coaching

There is a myriad assessment tools and training methods available and I deploy many of them but like the leadership and team development, we begin where you are right now. From one-on-one to team to group sessions, we create solutions-based meetings and modules to address those things that are keeping you up at night.

Call me at 519-803-7130 or email knealemann at gmail dot com and we can chat about your needs. We will create a customized solution with identified goals and objectives to ensure measurable results.

It begins with a conversation. Let's chat!

February 17, 2016

Audience of One

Media are often discussed, written about, and shared as if we're in a big room together akin to a Super Bowl party all consuming the same message and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that party where you spent more time eating the nachos and ribs than watching the game is probably one of the few times each year you consume any media with others in the room.

Media consumption is a personal experience. We listen to music alone in the car or do email alone in our office or post to Facebook and Instagram alone on our mobile devices. Yet there has always been a fascination with the mysterious group called 'them'. I lived that life when I programmed radio stations and we would try and attract a particular demographic as if it's a bunch of clones all doing the same things.

Alone Together

You're probably reading this post by yourself. You may share it, disagree with it, forget it minutes after you're finished, or tell someone about it. But at the genesis of consumption, you're doing it alone. You are the audience of one. The shared experience happens seconds, minutes, hours, days later.

We may use market research and analysis to determine tastes and preferences of a certain age group, but that means nothing to you or me. What matters to you is what's important to you. But if someone you trust shared something, the credibility of the content increases once they share their audience of one experience.

One's and Two's

The stats say North Americans check their mobile device an average of 110 times every day. We aren't sharing our screen with others; we are checking email, social streams, news feeds, and websites alone on our phone.

Now imagine if we took the audience of one concept into the workplace and busted down the walls of departments and silos and watched what happens. What if we allow everyone to have a voice and an opinion? We might unearth an idea from one of our team members that could change the course of the company.

But that's just the view from this audience of one.

February 15, 2016

What is Trust?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists "trust" as a belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, and effective. They use words like assured reliance on the character and a charge or duty imposed in confidence.

Trust is a big word we far too often toss around like it's part of a sales pitch. Trust me, my friend. It's all about trust. I trust that guy. But what is trust, really?

Trust is the transference of faith and Rachel Botsman examined the trust economy and collaborative consumption in her 2012 TEDTalk which continues to grow.


February 10, 2016

Stigma Begone

When I was 16, I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid. It took the doctors 10 months to figure out the problem. I lost 40 pounds, missed most of the school year, and it felt like I had the flu for almost a year.

The treatment: removal of about 80% of my thyroid. If they had not taken enough, they would have had to operate again; if they had taken too much, I would have been on medication for the rest of my life. They nailed it. That story was probably marginally interesting. I had a medical condition and doctors treated it.

How about I tell you about the many days when I felt inferior, lost, sad, confused, or unsure what to do with my life? Or the days worrying about my career, finances, future, or self-worth? Are you wincing a bit?

Why do we have no trouble talking about someone who has an organ malfunction or a broken limb but we get embarrassed to talk about mental illness? 

The stats say that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men have a depressive episode in their lives. This does not mean can't get out of bed for months; it means an episode which is a range from a one time event to a lifetime and any increment in between.

It's as pervasive as the common cold and we'd rather ignore it, shy away from it, hope it's someone else's problem. I'm going to be bold and say every human on the planet has at least one episode in their lives and it's nothing to be ashamed about and we need to talk about it. I'm not ashamed I had thyroid disease. I'm not ashamed I've had bad days and neither should you.

Ruby Wax explains her story which affects us all.


February 6, 2016

Human is the Critical Ingredient

Dear C-suite, V-suite, Directors, Managers, and HR Pros,

Please step away from keyword searches and software forms when looking for smart people to work at your company. It can be hard to sift through hundreds of applicants but it's part of your job.

Don't let laziness or Taleo software or someone who may not have their PhD in resume writing or two-page job description wishlists for 22-year old MBA grads who have 18 years' experience, stop you from finding great people to become part of your culture who will improve your business.

We are missing out on countless opportunities to create teams that will do remarkable work. I think education is important and should be encouraged and celebrated, but let's not lose out to those connections we can make when we step away from the forms and job boards and make a real connection.

That's why we call it human resources.

February 3, 2016

The Math of Life

Where I live, men live an average of 79 years and women 84. That translates to almost 29,000 days for guys and 30,600 for ladies. Those are averages so we may not even get that much time. Each year the US Board of Labor publishes how we spend our time and though some activities overlap, the numbers are quite startling.

Here's the number of days (24 hour periods) we spend on each activity throughout our lives;

Sleeping: 9,490 - Working: 4,132 - Housework: 1,950 - Online/Computer: 1,825
Eating: 1,583 - On the phone: 1,460 - Doing laundry: 963 - On smartphones: 882
Being sick: 366 - Watching TV: 264 - Waiting in line: 182 - Complaining: 152
Waiting on hold: 140 - Being romantic/intimate: 27

We spend about 100,000 hours in our lives at work yet only 648 hours being romantic. Is that a typo? Could it be? If so, that's sad. We spend almost seven times more time waiting in line, five times more time on hold, and six times more time complaining than finding time to be tender to the one person in our lives that means so much.

We work to make a living yet how much living are doing? 

We certainly seem to be good at slicing up our limited time doing a lot of busy stuff that won't amount to much as we take our final breaths.

So, as we look at the math of life,  how do we make time for the things we want to do around the stuff we need to do? We could put our phones down a few more times each day, create companies where collaboration is more important than meetings, stop complaining and give someone a hug, and save the laundry for later while we take our significant other out for date night.

In my opinion, we get caught up in what we want while missing what we can have if we want it. And if we pay closer attention each time, we might be able to complain and wait in line less while getting off our computers more often to enjoy life for a change.

Or we could always answer another email.

February 1, 2016

Schools and Wishes

As I prepared for my TEDx talk, which happened last week and I'll post the video when it's online, I watched a lot of TEDTalks and presentations. The difference between TED and others is the personal side. It wasn't easy to share my story and experience but it's what I love about TED.

If you ever get the chance, do it; it was a remarkable experience.

One of the talks I went to first was this one from the brilliant Dave Eggers from TED 2008 who shared his wish - along with the hundreds who have joined him since - of education and the creation of The 826 Valencia Writing Center in San Francisco.

If you haven't seen this, you need to, click play.

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